A strange thing happened to me on my way home from work last Friday. I was outside Charing Cross station and saw the doorman of the hotel there laughing with a happy guy about to get into a smart looking car. He seemed to be ribbing the bloke about something who just smiled and laughed back. Anyway as I passed him I noticed around fifty pounds worth of tenners in his back pocket flapping about ready to fall out/be nicked. I tapped the guy on the shoulder and said “Oi mate, watch your money especially around here” to which he thanked me profusely, shook my hand, pushed the tenners deeper into his pocket and got into the car and I thought no more of it.
It wasn’t until a few hours later watching the opening ceremony of the olympics on the telly I spotted the guy walking into the arena holding the olympic flag with a few others (including Stephen Lawrence’s mum and Muhammad Ali). Only turns out the bloke was the Ethiopian long distance runner Haile Gebrselassie. How bonkers is that? I know zilch about sport so didn’t have a clue who he was at the time. Can I claim my free olympic family tickets now?
As the weather was so nice last week, I walked from London Bridge to work a few times (cheers for the idea, Marc!). The things you see at 8 in the morning on the Southbank. Thursday saw dodgy flag sellers setting up shop to catch the tourists waiting for the Olympic flame to arrive (low quality union jacks for £2.50/£3.50, a bargain!) and on Friday at 7.55 am on the Millenium bridge, 20 or so bell-ringers standing around waiting for st pauls to “ring in” the olympics. The only thing that stood out about the gathering was a baby on a papoose facing outwards with the biggest “number 11’s” dripping out of it’s nose I have ever seen. Urghh! Poor kid.On the way over I did pass some great wooden pallet planters which were dotted about Jubilee Market around the corner from Southwark Cathedral. I was told local school kids had made them, not sure if that meant they actually got the black & decker workbenchs out or the kids just designed them. Some mad ideas though!
Popped into Robert Dyas in the strand today to see if they had any decent seeds in their “half marked price” sale and found these two packs of “Italian Kitchen” Basil and Leaf Salad for the combined price of £1.84. These still can be sown outdoors and if you’re thinking of growing indoors (ie. in a pot on a kitchen windowsill), you can sow them anytime. If anyone tells you this gardening lark is expensive, they’re lying!
A mad day to say the least. The weather was first rate and conditions that inspired a day of gardening and then later, chilling in the back garden. My petrol mower was chugging away at 11am with no complaints (the guy across the road had his going at the ungodly hour of 9am on a Sunday morning without the police being called, the power of sunshine eh?)
Today I dug up the spuds that started off in the home-made cold frame which were later served up for dinner. Not as many for the two plants as I thought (earlies aren’t supposed to be massive harvesters) but enough roast spuds for a sunday dinner for a family of four. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but quality far out-weighed the quantity. Comments on the produce from the family were along the lines of “these potatoes taste like real potatoes”, too right! There’s still the rest of the bag of seed potatoes-worth of plants to go, so there’s a good few more roasters to enjoy.
There’s even a second flower on the water lilly in the pond, and for the last couple of years we’ve been cursing the bloke in Lewisham’s premier pet shop as all we’ve got is the odd leaf or two. Shame! The above pic shows the water lily that cost us a fiver about 2 years ago, a few oxygenating pond plants I got off ebay for about £3 which is spreading like wildfire and two of the goldfish of the 13 my wife got for the price as 11 (£7ish) at the Lewisham pet shop after she listened intently to the bloke chat on about his own pond. Bargain!
Can you believe it? The summer weather’s returning or so it seems. It’s great you can actually get out and do something in the garden instead of staying in and cursing the weeds that are popping up everywhere.The other evening as it was still a “leaf” day I sowed the last of the lettuce, spinach and rocket seeds I had left in the gaps in the salad bed (see pic above with the home made cat deterrent in place). I even put in some peas today as the last lot refused to come up (I did buy them on e-bay). I know it’s towards the end of summer but it’s worth taking a chance.
The slugs have finally got to me so the other night I finally snapped, so it was out with the blue pellets (I really didn’t want to go there). Trails of transparent goo greeted me the morning after and slugs in the final throws of their life littered the soil. I felt a bit guilty but they’ve had a load of my stuff this year and here’s a man who can’t take no more. I am not bitter, ok? My next track is to be called “Where’s me Dahlias gone?”
Robert Dyas are selling off all their Sutton seeds range for half price at the moment as it’s coming up to late summer. Look out for some bargains as it applies to whatever veg and flower seeds they have left in their stores. That isn’t bad considering you can save the seed until next year if you’ve missed out on the suggested sowing period and who knows what global warming will bring in the form of weather later this year if you want to take a chance on a late sowing.
I picked up a bargain in the form of a pack of five different herbs on something called a seed mat which you stick straight into a pot of seed compost. So that’s some Parsley, two types of Basil, Coriander and Chives for the pots on the kitchen windowsill, not bad for £1.37! Keep em peeled!
Leroy Sibbles – Ain’t no love (Rock Jam)
I got this gem of a tune last weekend for a quid at the nine elms sunday market in vauxhall. I only found out about the market by accident while queueing for the cashpoint when I noticed loads of people walking past carrying blue plastic bags full of dubious food content.
It’s a massive market selling all sorts from trainers, power tools with bits missing, gardening tools, unrefrigerated meat products, the odd stall selling records and one selling big boxes of very ripe beetroot for “two pounds, a bargain mate!” The market is also as rough as, and the only one I’ve been to that has security guards and ones who roam around in twos. God forbid what would happen if you were caught shoplifting!
This twelve inch from 1978 was wedged between some king jammy’s digital business and as the label was printed so off centre and also that I knew of mr sibbles from the great heptones I decided to take a chance for a quid. It was only when I got it home I recognised the tune from a brilliant mikey dread “dread at the controls” C90 recorded off the great man’s radio shows in jamaica from the late 70’s. Tune!
A market to go to have a butchers at but one to keep your head down in. Be warned, unrefrigerated meat products can kill!
I was looking at my potatoes today thinking they should be ready to eat soon and noticed that some of the flowers had developed into mini-fruits not unlike the tomato.
It’s funny, as a couple of months ago on the “veg in the city” course at walworth garden farm the same subject came up when someone asked were the green fruits on the potato plant edible. Well the answer was a massive ”NO!” seeing that the potato is in the same family as deadly nightshade and I’ve just looked on the net and it says the potato fruit as well as the plant itself contains large amounts of solanine which is a well poisonous alkaloid.
I should have nipped out the flowers on the plants when they were on their way out so all the goodness would have gone back into the plant to make it’s tuber (ie. the humble potato) rather than making the fruit. Stick to eating the tubers!
A big shout to Scarlett for the useful bit of info on the fruit.
The Realms – Happiness is your middle name/Happiness version (Summertime)
Here’s another tune found in Coventry (possibly from John’s in Hillfields) many moons ago, a lighter slice of UK reggae produced in 1975 by Clement “Clem” Bushay (he of Louisa Mark’s Six Sixth Street production fame).
I only found out while trying to find the single on youtube recently that this is a version of a Stylistics original and also sounds like it owes a debt to Edwin Starr’s “Stop her on sight (S.O.S)” at the beginning. A fine tune with a mellow dub that has a touch of the UB40 sax about it but nice all the same.
The Creary Sisters – The morning in the sky – Glory Records
I’m not 100% sure when or where I got this from but the 30p singles bin from the record and tape exchange in Soho sort of rings a bell. I’d always go for the old looking 7″ singles without middles in them from Jamaica as it would be a good chance they’d be reggae related (especially this one with 37 Orange St, Kingston on it!) but I was proved wrong in this instance. This is a piece of Jamaican Gospel (a bit scratched and slightly warped) from 1969 on the obscure Glory label produced by the late Miss Sonia Pottinger (of the High Note, Tip Top and Gayfeet labels). In a different stylee…